Tips on Home Cooling

Buying a bigger room air conditioner won’t necessarily make you feel more comfortable during the hot summer months. In fact, a room air conditioner that’s too big for the area it is supposed to cool will perform less efficiently and less effectively than a smaller, properly sized unit. The reason: an oversized unit will cool the room(s) to the thermostat set-point before proper dehumidification occurs, making the area feel “clammy” and uncomfortable. Central air-conditioning systems need to be sized by professionals. Explore our Energy Saver 101 infographic on home cooling to learn how an air conditioner works.

Progressive Heating and Air

If you have a central air system in your home, set the fan to shut off at the same time as the compressor, which is usually done by setting the “auto” mode on the fan setting. In other words, don’t use the system’s central fan to provide air circulation — use circulating fans in individual rooms.

Instead of air-conditioning, consider installing a whole-house fan. Whole-house fans work in many climates and help cool your home by pulling cool air through the house and exhausting warm air through the attic. Use the fan most effectively to cool down your house during cooler times of the day: your home will stay cooler through the hotter times of the day without using the fan.

Cooling Tips

  • Set your thermostat at as high a temperature as comfortably possible in the summer, and ensure humidity control if needed. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.
  • Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense.
  • Consider using an interior fan along with your window air conditioner to spread the cooled air through your home without greatly increasing your power use.
  • Avoid placing appliances that give off heat such as lamps or TVs near a thermostat.

Information courtesy of the US Dept of Energy

Advertisements

Save $$

As the weather turns chilly, improve your home’s comfort, and save energy and money all while doing a good thing for the environment. By using energy efficiently at home, you not only lower your energy bills, but prevent air pollution too. Here are ways to save, offered by the ENERGY STAR program at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

1. Know the Facts – The average family spends $1,500 a year on energy bills, with nearly half of that spent on heating and cooling. Energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment, installed alongside a well-sealed duct system, can save as much as 20 percent on annual energy costs.
2. Keep it Clean – A dirty air filter can increase your energy costs and lead to early equipment failure. Clean or change the air filter in your heating and cooling system regularly. Also, have your equipment checked seasonally to make sure it’s operating efficiently and safely – check-ups can identify problems early. Dirt and neglect are the #1 causes of system failure.
3. Bundle Up – Hidden gaps and cracks in a home can add up to as much airflow as an open window. When heat escapes, your system must work harder and you use more energy. Home Sealing can improve your home “envelope” – the outer walls, ceiling, windows and floors — and
can save up to 10 percent in energy costs. Start by sealing air leaks and adding insulation, while paying special attention to your attic and basement, where the biggest gaps and cracks are often found. If replacing windows, choose ENERGY STAR qualified ones.
4. Tighten Your Ducts – If you have a forced air furnace or heat pump, then a duct system is responsible for circulating warm air throughout your home. Leaky ducts can reduce your system’s overall efficiency by 20 percent, causing your equipment to work harder than necessary to keep you comfortable. Ask your HVAC contractor about improving your ducts.
5. Don’t Oversize – When replacing old equipment, make sure your new equipment is properly sized for your home. An oversized system will cost more to buy and operate and will cycle on and off too frequently, reducing your comfort and leading to early system failures and repair costs. Correct sizing will ensure that your equipment works efficiently. Make sure your HVAC contractor uses Manual J or an equivalent sizing tool to determine what’s right for your home.
6. Consult a Professional – Find an experienced, licensed contractor before embarking on any heating and cooling overhaul. Visit http://www.natex.orq to find a contractor whose technicians are certified by NATE (North American Technician Excellence), the leading industry-supported testing and certification program.
7. Shop Smart – If your heating equipment has not been regularly maintained and is 15 years or older, it’s probably time for a more efficient replacement. Ask for an ENERGY STAR when buying the following equipment:

  • Furnaces – Old furnaces cost more to operate per year than new, ENERGY STAR qualified models that are 15 percent more efficient than standard models.
  • Boilers – An ENERGY STAR qualified boiler uses features like electric ignition and new combustion technologies that extract more heat from the same amount of fuel, to be seven percent more energy-efficient.
  • Heat Pumps – When installed in a home with a well-sealed envelope, heat pumps provide great value and comfort for your energy dollar. An ENERGY STAR qualified geothermal heat pump is 30 percent more efficient than comparable new equipment and can save you as much as $400 annually. A qualified electric heat pump is 20 percent more efficient.
  • Programmable Thermostats – Regulate your home’s temperature with four programmable settings and you can save about $100 annually on your energy bills.

sme

Source: ENERGY STAR


Mother Nature CAN Work for You

You may have noticed that some rooms will occasionally be hotter or cooler than others. Your upstairs bedroom may take longer to cool in the summer, or the kitchen may be chillier in the winter.

Don’t worry! There may not be anything wrong with your system. If your home is multi-level, you will naturally experience the effect of warm air rising to the upper level and cooler air falling to the lower. In addition, solar gain can cause temperatures to rise in certain rooms. This is definitely the case in rooms with west-facing windows during the late afternoon. Forces of nature are not the only factors that will raise your home’s indoor temperature. Cooking and showering will cause the humidity of your home to increase. Even without a raise in temperature, higher levels of humidity can cause you to feel warmer and uncomfortable.

While the laws of nature (and the law of teenagers taking long showers) may be out of your control, you can use your home’s ventilation system to improve the situation. By adjusting or closing registers that are too cool in summer or too warm in the winter, you can divert conditioned air to rooms where you need it the most. By making the laws of nature work for you, you should be able to achieve even, comfortable temperatures in every room of your home. If that does not do the trick, there may be some ventilation issues at play that deserve a closer look.

To schedule an appointment for our NATE certified service technician to come out, click here and get 10% off!

uneven-temperatures-service


Preventative Maintenance Is Important!

 

Preventative maintenance for your air conditioner is important. Inspecting the system to check for problems before they grow into major air conditioner malfunctions can save hundreds of dollars and periodic preventative maintenance for your air conditioner is a great way to accomplish that. Semi-annual preventative maintenance, or annual preventative maintenance, for your air conditioner by Progressive Heating & Air can go a long way in ensuring the effective operation of your air conditioner.
Progressive Heating & Air’s Preventative Maintenance Program will keep your air conditioner running at its peak performance and efficiency.

Spring-HVAC-Preventive-Maintenance

Inadequate preventative maintenance for your air conditioner is one of the chief causes of air conditioner malfunctions, poor performance and inefficiency. Like an automobile needs inexpensive periodic preventative maintenance to keep it running and to avoid costly repairs, your air conditioner requires periodic preventative maintenance. Neglecting preventative maintenance for your air conditioner may lead to a steady decline in the air conditioner’s performance as well as increased energy consumption and costs.  It is also important to point out that maintenance is required to keep your equipments warranties in good standing.

For more information about our service and what it covers, go here.

Give us a call, or schedule an appointment for maintenance here.


Help the Elderly Prepare for Summer Months

When you think of taking care of an aging parent or friend, the first thing that may come to mind is helping with meals, errands, doctors visits, etc. Those that have stepped into the shoes of being a caretaker understand that there is a lot more to it – you take on the responsibility of home maintenance and repairs – and specifically, the air conditioning system.

According to the Center for Disease Control, about 400 Americans die each year to heat related conditions, and nearly half f them are elderly. They are at greater risk for heat stress or stroke risk due to several factors.

  • Their bodies do not adjust as easily to sudden changes in temperature.
  • They are more likely to have medical conditions such as heart, lung and kidney disease. Other medical issues that increase their risk are high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • They may take medications that render them more susceptible to the heat. Some medications are known to inhibit perspiration which leaves them even more vulnerable in hot weather.
  • Age related dementia – they may simply forget to turn on the air conditioning, or may not realize if it is not functioning properly.
  • Isolation – some may not have friends or family members who check in on them regularly.
  • Cost – being on fixed incomes, some seniors may be reluctant to use the air conditioning, believing that the use of electric fans will be sufficient – and they are not. While possibly providing a breeze, they do nothing to eliminate the extreme humidity we face in Georgia.

The fact is, heat related illness and deaths are 100% preventable; and according to the CDC, air conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat related illness and death. So – making sure air conditioning systems are in good working order before the summer sets in order should be a top priority.

 


Fall Tips

Have your Heating system tuned-up for the season, so that you are running at peak efficiency. Operating at peak efficiency will save money because the system doesn’t have to work as hard to do its job.

Replace your furnace or air handler filters on a regular basis. Lack of regular filter changes and maintenance is the number one cause of system breakdowns and costly repair bills.

Keep the thermostat constant. Continuously adjusting the thermostat can be very inefficient. You can, however, lower the thermostat 2-3 degrees during the day while you’re away to save money. For every degree you lower the setting, you can expect to cut energy consumption by up to 3-5%.

Flip the fan switch on your thermostat into the “fan on” mode when heating the house. This process will ensure that air is always being stirred to prevent hot and cold pockets from forming.

Consider a Heat Pump if you are going to replace your outdoor unit. Although a Heat Pump cannot produce air as hot as your gas furnace, when you combine a Heat Pump with your gas furnace you have a system that is much more efficient and still able to deliver the warmth we all love.

Set air vents on the second floor to receive approximately 45 percent of the heated air. This will help even out the temperatures from the first to the second floor of the home. (Remember, hot air rises)

Open the shades and curtains to help produce radiant heat of the sun.

Replace older windows with more efficient low-E glass. These windows help to reduce the heat loss of your homes HVAC system. Also, keep storm windows closed. This saves money and extends the life of the system.

Run humidifiers to help maintain the warm feeling in your home. Proper humidity can make the air feel up to 3 degrees warmer. Which means you can turn down your thermostat a couple of degrees and save money on your utility bills and still feel the warmth that we all love on those cold days in winter. (Depending upon your environment, you may still need a dehumidifier running in the basement)

Clear or cut back shrubs and bushes from the outdoor Heat Pump unit. The sides of the unit require at least 12-18 inches of clearance for proper performance.

Keep fallen leaves, grass clippings, foliage and other dirt and debris away from your outdoor Heat Pump unit. And keep the indoor coils clean, following manufacturers’ instructions.

Don’t block vents or ducts inside the house to assure air flow in the home.

Caulk and install weather stripping
around windows and doors (especially the attic) to close air gaps.

Consider use of a programmable thermostat to automatically increase or decrease temperatures during day and night to suit a family’s lifestyle and reduce energy cost.

Keep windows and doors closed to help with the homes natural heat loss.

Progressive Heating & Air Conditioning can help you with any heating and air problem as well as diagnose your whole house and recommend solutions that will provide you and your family with the most energy efficient home possible.

Questions? Concerns? Feedback?

Also, visit us on our website.


What Should You Expect?

What should you expect your service technician to do during a PMA visit?

  • Check system functions, safety controls, and adjust the operating sequence where appropriate.
  • Inspect electrical components and connections and repair/replace or tighten as required.
  • Ensure proper airflow and change dirty air filters.
  • Inspect pumps, lubricate, and check flow rates where appropriate.
  • Clean and lubricate motors as required.
  • Examine belts, adjust and align as required.
  • Inspect, clean and balance blowers as required.

Spring Visit (preparation for summer season):

  • Clean inside coil, condensate pans, condensate traps, and condensate lines to prevent obstructions.
  • Clean outside coil and straighten fins for efficient operation.
  • Check refrigerant levels and if low, find the leak. (According to many equipment manufacturers, a 10% refrigerant loss will result in a 20% decrease in system efficiency!)

Fall Visit (preparation for winter season):

  • Clean the burner assembly.
  • Remove soot from fireside of burner.
  • Clean and check operation of humidifier.
  • Visually or with remote camera, inspect heat exchanger for cracks.
  • Adjust air/fuel ratio of burner and perform combustion analysis. (Instrumentation used for combustion analysis is a means of fine-tuning a burner to achieve maximum fuel efficiency and “optimum firing.”)

Note: For heat pump applications, winter season inspections repeat a number of the summer procedures plus several additional checks. Maintaining semi-annual PMAs for heat pumps is also important.

What’s your bottom line?

  • Savings: PMAs typically more than pay for themselves through higher efficiency, less utility overpayment, and contractor discounts. PMA customers typically receive a discount on all parts and services performed during the entire year.
  • Peace of Mind: Predictive maintenance will mean fewer system failures and a longer life for your HVAC equipment.
  • Priority Service: Should a system failure occur during the heat of the summer or the cold of the winter, customers with PMAs generally receive priority service.
  • Continuity: Many ACCA contractors are often able to assign technicians to the specific customers. That way, you get to see and know the same service technician, and he or she becomes more familiar with you and your equipment.